Volume 43 Number 92
                    Produced: Thu Aug  5  9:02:17 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

civil/not marriages in Poland
         [Martin Stern]
The Cohen Modal Haplotype
         [Eitan Fiorino]
Dropping the Dime
         [Joshua Seidemann]
         [Harlan Braude]
Mixed Weddings (2)
         [Martin Stern, William Friedman]
Sitting in the Back of the Bus (2)
         [Batya Medad, Carl Singer]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 14:44:22 +0100
Subject: Re: civil/not marriages in Poland

on 4/8/04 1:01 pm, Naomi Kingsley <rogerk@...> wrote:

> My mother, whose parents came from Poland between the wars, said it
> cost a fair amount of money to register the marriage - so people often
> didn't register; every now and then, some official would come round,
> and there were then forced fines/back registrations [not sure of the
> details].  Thus, the early children in a marriage would very often
> have the mother's surname on official documents; later children might
> have the father's surname.

Another reason for brothers coming from Russia and Russian Poland having
different surnames was to avoid conscription since the firstborn was
exempt.  Sometimes later children were registered with childless couples
for the same reason.

Martin Stern


From: Eitan Fiorino <Fiorino@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 09:09:58 -0400
Subject: Re: The Cohen Modal Haplotype

> From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
> >From: Tony Fiorino <Fiorino@...>
> >Given the fact that this marker appears in high frequency in some of 
> >these populations, one would have to assume there were a remarkably 
> >high percentage of kohanim in the initial populations. Unlikely for 
> >exiles from the 10 tribes and we have no reason to suspect 
> >an unusually large population of kohanim in Italy in antiquity. As for the 
> >Hungarians being descendants of the Khazars, the Khazars were allegedly 
> >converts to Judaism - and thus should have among them no kohanim and no 
> >one possessing the Cohen modal haplotype to pass on to their 
> >descendants, Jewish or otherwise.
>          Eitan is only correct if there was no subsequent 
> (legal) intermarrying between the communities.  For example, 
> if a daughter of converted khazars married a cohen (or the 
> daughter of a khazar who married a non-priestl) then there 
> would be some intermingling of cohen and khazar genes.

The issue here is that the overall Hungarian population - non-Jewish -
has a high prevalence of the Cohen modal haplotype.  The original
posting postulated that this could have been passed down from Khazar
ancestors.  Yet the original Khazar population (whether this group
converted to Judaism or not) would have not had a high prevalence of the
Cohen modal haplotype.  Are the Khazars even ancestors of the non-Jewish
Hungarian population?  Would this have been before or after they
supposedly converted to Judaism?

>          I have thought about this a lot re the cohen haplotype.  This
> is the only way to account for the fact that there are just as many
> cohen haplotypes among sephardi as ashkenazi Jews.  Ashkenazim look
> like Europeans so we have to be descendents of converts.  For there to
> be Ashkenazi cohanim like me somewhere along the line one of these
> ashkenazi convert offspring had to marry a sephardi cohen.  i realize
> i am making some assumptions here and that no one really knows where
> the ashkenazi and sephardi branches of judaism originate from.  yet it
> seems to me that since sephardim look like they're from the middle
> east, that they must be genetically more ancient bearers of our sacred
> religion.

I think making any assumptions about ancient ancestry based on modern
looks is extremely difficult and even dangerous.  In general studies of
genetic markers have revealed tighter groupings between geographically
diverse groups of Jews than between Jews and their local non-Jewish
populations.  Obviously there has always been some influx from the local
gene pool owing to conversions of locals to Judaism, and this modest
influx could potentially account for some of the physical differences
one can observe between mizrachi and European Jews.

I'm not sure what Ben means by "no one really knows where the ashkenazi
and sephardi branches of judaism originate from."  I didn't know that
there was much mystery about this.  I thought these are two broad
groupings of Jews based on differences in normative halachah, minhag and
liturgy, differences arising from geographic isolation from each other,
differences in loyalty to the Israeli and Babylonian Gaonate (and to
different academies within the Gaonate), and different surrounding
cultural and religious milieus.



From: Joshua Seidemann <quartertones@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 06:35:35 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Dropping the Dime

> There is a problem of mesirah, denouncing a fellow Jew to the
> non-Jewish authorities. Perhaps the distinction between this case
> and that of Mrs Plony leaving a five year old alone is that in the
> latter there is a problem of direct risk to the life of the child
> whereas in the former the risk is only potential and not directly
> related to the violation of code as such. I cannot give a halachic
> ruling so I suggest he consult a competent Orthodox rabbi before
> doing anything.

I agree with the CLOR aspect of this response, but I submit that the
safety issues inherent in Mrs. Plony's willful negligence and the
building code violations are on the same spectrum, albeit at different
points of immediacy (or, "clear and present danger").  To illustrate,
Montgomery County, MD, building codes require that all bedrooms in
residential dwellings have access to a multiple and outside exits --
these are, commonly, the door and a window to the outside.  Basement
bedrooms are subject to the same codes.  Therefore, persons renovating
basements to include a bedroom are required to excavate an area
sufficient to allow the installation of a door or window that leads
immediately to the outside.  It is more likely, admittedly, that the
"household overseen by a five-year" ranks higher than the "random house
fire" on the risk scale -- but, both situations implicate unnecessary
and avoidable risk.  I don't think that adherence to municipal building
codes represents lifnim meshirus ha'din; the basement apartment risk may
be related to violation of the code.  I would think that it would
behoove a LOR to investigate the reasons behind various building codes
before passing judgement on the "drop the dime" issue.  I would be
interested to know answer to this problem.


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 08:51:20 -0400
Subject: RE: Meshullachim.

> (1) Was I right in not giving this meshullach anything on the 
> grounds that he had tried to mislead me with the way in which 
> he had shown me his certificate?

Sorry if this sounds overly simplistic/preachy, but from what I have
heard and in my opinion, HaShem gives each of us money to distribute,
but it's left up to us to determine how and to whom to distribute those

Sure, there are guidelines from ChaZal, like it may be better to give
less to many than more to few, but by and large HaShem entrusted the
person with the errand of distributing money earmarked for charity.

So, if you have what you believe is sufficient grounds to withhold funds
from someone, then you're perfectly within your rights to do so. One
just has to make sure, generally speaking, that one's motivation is
l'shaym shamayim and not, say, based on greed, etc.

Anyway, I'd say you were right. However, I would add that had you
elected to hand this fellow money despite all that you had seen, I don't
think you would have violated any issurim, either. Is that a
contradictory stance? I don't think so.

The way I see it, he obviously needs money or he wouldn't subject
himself to the humiliating task of collecting door to door.

Furthermore, who says you have to give him $100? If I hand the guy $1,
will I really miss it?

Some people would respond to that question with "well, that's not the
point!", but I'm thinking: perhaps it is.

> (2) Does presenting an expired certificate in such a way as 
> to make out that it is valid constitute genaivas ha'daas 
> [misrepresentation]?  Can it be considered attempting to 
> obtain funds by deception?

>From the way you describe the encounter, it certainly sounds like a case
of genaivas ha'daas. However, it's possible that the bearer of the
certificate hadn't obtained the renewal certificate for some less
offensive reason (time constraints due to illness, etc.).

Although you were probably not inclined to believe this person after
discovering the expiration date, did he offer any explanation for what he

> (4) Should I have taken the meshullach's name and referred 
> the matter to the Vaad?

Well, what would the Vaad do?
	1. Withhold a certificate from this fellow? But, he's already
without a valid certificate.
	2. Stop issuing certificates altogether? Now, a whole slew of honest
people will suffer.
	3. Post a letter and photo at community synagogues saying 'be on the
look out for...'? Not likely, and even if they did it would be relatively
	4. Call the police? <groan>...I'm thinking Pandora's box!
	5. Empathize and admit there's not much they can do. I suspect this
is the most likely response.

Personally speaking, I'd avoid that can of worms.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 14:34:34 +0100
Subject: Re: Mixed Weddings

on 4/8/04 1:01 pm, Michael Rogovin <rogovin@...> wrote:

> I do not know Mr. Stern's background, the community he lives in or how many
> observant/non-observant relatives he has.

For Michael's information, my family came from Germany before WW2, I
live in Broughton Park, an area of Manchester predominantly inhabited by
strictly Orthodox Jews (in my street 100% of the households) and I do
have relatives who are non-observant (some of whom, in previous
generations, have even married out).

As regards sitting shiva, this was only done by parents and knowing that
one would be treated as dead might have inhibited a child from marrying
out.  This would only be effective where the parents were themselves
100% committed to Torah Judaism which explains why it is almost never
practised nowadays. I do not know of anyone having done so. I was not
suggesting that it be revived, merely pointing out that marrying out was
at one time viewed with such horror.

As Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...> noted in a mail-jewish Vol. 43
#84, in most cases marrying out in present times is not the underlying
problem but merely a symptom of such a tenuous connection to Judaism
that the religion of one's spouse seems irrelevant. In such cases it
would, as Michael says, be completely counterproductive. Of course one
should try to keep amicable relationships with non-observant or
intermarried relatives if this might bring them closer to their roots
but I fear that attending such weddings is one step too far in that it
conveys the message that what they are doing is not really so terrible
after all.

By the way what is the significance of the abbreviation SO, presumably
used for a non-Jewish sleeping partner, which is not used in the UK?

Martin Stern

[The term SO - Significant Other - is a term in relatively common usage
in America. It has no Jewish / non-Jewish implications. It is a generic
term that includes spouses as well as non-married people living
together, which could also include same gender as well as opposite
gender couples. Thus, it has become a general term used to indicate a
couple without having to deal with whether the couple is legally
married. It does indicate a relationship that is different from simply
two individuals dating, it indicates a committment of a level similar to
legal marriage (whatever that level of committment may or may not
be). Mod.]

From: William Friedman <williamf@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 11:38:13 -0400
Subject: Re: Mixed Weddings

I found myself amused reading Martin Stern & Leah S.R. Gordon's
responses on this topic one after the other; in a way, they represent
opposite ends of the Orthodox spectrum, and that both can express these
views in this forum strikes me as very healthy indeed.  My own
sympathies lie entirely with Leah Gordon.  Would Martin Stern advocate
similar strictures regarding inviting Sabbath-breaking relatives?  If
so, what is his rational for excluding all non-observant Jews from
religious s'machot?  If not, then I fail to to see how singling out
intermarriage (not necessarily even a d'oraita, and certainly not worse
than hillul Shabbat) has any basis in halakha whatsoever.  Invoking
"kenaim pog'im bo" is clearly inappropriate when dealing with modern-day
intermarriage (as recent discussions on this list have attested), and in
any case, is not a halakhic rationale.  As Ed Ehrlich pointed out,
intermarriage is but a symptom of the larger problem of estrangement
from Judaism; to separate out intermarriage for special treatment when
other aveirot are also being committed is farcical, and probably racist.
(As R' Kahane once accused Alan Dershowitz of being, quite correctly



From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 16:17:31 +0200
Subject: Re: Sitting in the Back of the Bus

    Thus sitting in the back of a bus, or synagogue - for practical reasons
    - does not impinge on the equality in status. It is simply a practical
    expression of the fact that men and women are differently wired.

What's the connection?

Dovening in the Ezrat Nashim is easier, kavanah-wise than in mixed
company, but twice as many women as men in 1/3 the space in the back of
the bus is a chilul Hashem!!  When teenage boys are educated that they
can sit while women old enough to be their grandmothers stand, there's
no derech eretz, and no manners!!  If men don't want to see women they
should go to the back and stand with their backs to the front.  Because
when they sit in the front they watch the women march/schlep to the
back, which is very demeaning for the women, besides the "wiring"


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 08:26:22 -0400
Subject: Sitting in the Back of the Bus

> Thus sitting in the back of a bus, or synagogue - for practical reasons
> - does not impinge on the equality in status. It is simply a practical
> expression of the fact that men and women are differently wired.

And what's wrong with sitting side-by-side with a mechitzah?  Or the
front of the bus?

Carl A. Singer


End of Volume 43 Issue 92